Some Highlights from Scotland
Trip Start Sep 07, 2010
11Trip End Dec 23, 2010
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Where I stayed
Isabel and I had been running around all weekend trying to find an apartment, trying to figure out how to sleep in our apartment, trying to find clothes hangers (“you know, what you use to hang clothes in a closet” “Oh, hangers!” “Yes, hangers, that’s what I was trying to say”), and generally get our London lives together. While running errands around town, we would entertain the idea of spending a few days in Edinburgh before Kelsey got to town. Then, on Tuesday, Isabel was like “let’s just do it; let’s go tonight.” So, we went to our favorite hostel/bar/restaurant/internet café and planned a trip to Scotland that left in a few hours.
We had heard from a British friend of a friend of a friend that the best way to travel from London to Edinburgh was to take an overnight bus, where we could “drink wine, play cards, and make friends.” So, with bus tickets, a deck of cards, and a bottle of wine in hand, we boarded a bus
As soon as we arrived, we sped to our hostel, dropped our bags, and went in search of our “Heart of Scotland” Mercedes van to embark on our “Mountains, Monarchs, and Malts” day tour. We couldn’t help but sleep after our nine hour bus-ride, despite the guide’s engaging stories about the history, culture, and lore of Scotland. We learned about the Old Alliance, England and Scotland’s centuries of enmity, the Scottish heritage of the Tudors, the story of the original Jekyll & Hyde, body snatchers, ancient love stories, and rugby.
The tour was a LOT of fun. We got to see Stirling Castle, Duhne Castle (site of part of the Monty Python and the Holy Grail movie), stopped for lunch in a small town called Aberfoyle, met the famous Hamish the Hairy Cow (said harry coo), had a brief hike around the beautiful Loch Lomond, and toured a whiskey distillery. All this, and we were home around 7:30. We showered, had dinner, and went to a bar with a few live music acts to soak in the local culture.
The next day, we woke up a little late, but still in time for our free breakfast at the hostel. At breakfast, we learned that the Pope was making a state visit to Edinburgh to meet with the Queen. So we headed to town, and after waiting for a little over an hour, saw the Pope pass in his Pope-mobile with a security and medical entourage larger than President Obama’s when he visited Scotland. It was exciting to see the Pope so close up.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the Castle was the prison area, which housed prisoners of many different wars. The art these prisoners did, as well as the graffiti hey left in doors and other parts of their cells were not only impressive in themselves, but were also impressive and unique sources of history that provide insight into the condition, culture, and origin of the prisoners kept there.
After seeing the castle, we wandered back to the new part of the city, gather our things, and took an overnight bus back to London to prepare for Kelsey’s arrival. This time, we slept the whole way.